Islamic Mutilation 1
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Protection petitions filed for 2 girls in mutilation case
By AMY FORLITI Associated Press Apr 14, 2017 Updated Apr 14, 2017 0
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Authorities in Minnesota have filed child protection petitions for two 7-year-old girls who prosecutors say were brought to Michigan by their mothers for a genital mutilation procedure.
The petitions were filed in Hennepin and Anoka counties on Thursday, the same day a Michigan doctor was charged with performing genital mutilation on the two girls. According to the FBI, Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was arrested after the 7-year-olds identified her as the person who performed procedures on them in February at a clinic in suburban Detroit.
It is believed to be the first case of its kind prosecuted in federal court.
The petition in Hennepin County said one of the girls was removed from her family’s suburban Minneapolis home and placed in a shelter on a 72-hour health and welfare hold. Her 11-year-old brother remains in the home.
The Associated Press isn’t naming the parents to avoid identifying the girl. They don’t have a listed home phone number, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether they had an attorney. A woman who answered the door said the family had no comment.
According to the petition, child protection services received a report of physical abuse of the girl on Monday and authorities interviewed her. She told them about the trip she took with her mom, a friend and the friend’s parents. The girl said she went to see a doctor, but was told to keep that secret.
The girl was given a medical exam after being removed from the home.
Her father told a child protection investigator that “if they knew what would come of it, this would never have happened,” the petition stated.
A spokeswoman for the Anoka County Attorney’s Office confirmed prosecutors have filed a case there as well, but it’s under seal and the details are confidential.
The FBI said Nagarwala, 44, is a member of a cultural community that believes in the practice but that she denied performing it when interviewed by agents. She is charged with genital mutilation, making false statements and other crimes and remains in custody pending a Monday court hearing.
In a court filing, the FBI said many more girls have told investigators that Nagarwala performed procedures on their genitals. Acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco called the procedures “horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims.”
Dr. Mohammed Arsiwala, president and CEO of Michigan Urgent Care and board member of the Michigan State Medical Society, said he knows of Nagarwala and confirmed she is a member of the community. He said he left the community after learning of the practices.
“This is absolutely not needed — there’s no scientific basis at all for it,” said Arsiwala, who said he has shared his concerns through resolutions presented to the state medical group and Wayne County Medical Society, of which he is a former president.
“The most important thing … is to make sure if any girl has undergone this and needs physical or psychological support, it should be offered,” he said, adding that his long-term goal is to work with state lawmakers and make the procedure a criminal offense in Michigan.
Islamic Mutilation 2
Doctor denies genital mutilation; judge keeps her locked up
By ED WHITE Associated Press 1 hr ago 0
DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area doctor charged with performing genital mutilation on two 7-year-old girls denied the allegations through her lawyer Monday, insisting that she conducted a benign religious ritual for families of a Muslim sect.
Shannon Smith’s defense of Dr. Jumana Nagarwala contradicted the government’s position that the Minnesota girls were forced to undergo a painful, bloody procedure at a Michigan clinic that left them with scars and lacerations on their genitals. It’s the first time someone has been charged with violating a U.S. ban on genital mutilation.
Smith’s explanation emerged during a hearing to determine whether Nagarwala would stay locked up without bond, following her arrest last week. After hearing arguments, a judge said she was a threat to the public and refused to release her.
“They were the last in a long line of children cut by the defendant,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward said of the two girls who were accompanied to the Livonia clinic by their mothers.
Smith said it is Nagarwala’s “absolute position” that she didn’t mutilate genitals as alleged by the government or even cause bleeding. She said mucous was removed from the girls in February, and the gauze was given to the family for burial.
Nagarwala is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community, a Muslim sect concentrated mostly in India, Smith said. Federal investigators have said the families of the Minnesota girls also belong to the sect.
The Bohras are an affluent community of about one million people concentrated mostly in Mumbai, India, but also seen across the U.S. and Europe. Within the sect, the practice of female circumcision remains a divisive issue, although supporters defend the ritual.
Smith partly blamed the allegations against Nagarwala on a “political divide” within the group’s mosque in Oakland County, Michigan. She didn’t elaborate.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub aggressively questioned the attorney, sometimes with a skeptical tone. She asked why a so-called religious custom was being performed in a medical clinic after business hours and wondered why Nagarwala appeared to be the “go-to person.”
“She was familiar with the religious procedure. … It does not have to be done by a physician,” Smith replied. “I believe my client wanted it to be as sanitary, as clean as possible.”
Nagarwala, 44, stood silently next to her attorney, wearing a head scarf and shoulder cape over her jail clothes.
“This is going to be a complex” case, Smith said.